Autumn, the Super-Happy Fun Slide of Awesome!

I know that “technically,” fall hasn’t started and that “technically,” it already has. The fall solstice is on September 23, so that’s the “official” beginning to fall, but let’s be honest, it’s never that simple.

Thousands of kids from 5 to 30 have already returned to school, so for them, summer is already over. That’s because summer isn’t just a set of dates, it more like a state of being. Summer vacation = summer. Fall is the same way. Fall=the beginning of school.

But while I have returned to some kind of schooling, I had a full-time job long enough to be disillusioned to summer break. Especially since I was working outside in what was officially recorded as that longest heat wave St. Louis has EVER endured. Good times! I no longer see the beginning of school as the true beginning of fall. In fact, I only felt it this week.

It happened on Tuesday. I was cooking up some tacos and waiting for my wife to come home from work. I looked at the clock and saw it was just about 8, and I looked out the window. I was stricken by how dark it was. At the best of summer, the sun is still trying to set at 8. You still need your sunglasses and you can go on nice, long walks at 8. But now, at the same hour, dusk had settled in for a long stay. The only light was a dim, navy blue poking through the trees.

My wife and I are renting the basement of some friends of ours while I’m in school. We have to walk down the sloping yard to get to the back door, which is technically our front door. It’s been getting harder to do because of the hastening darkness. What used to be a casual stroll has quickly become a cautious shuffle in the moonlight. If we’re lucky, the homeowners will have their bedroom light on to illuminate the lawn.

On top of that, it’s gotten colder! Yeah, it’s still in the 70s and 80s, but mornings and evenings are cooler, and after this particular summer, I feel it more than ever. Just this morning as I walked my wife out the door, I actually felt chilly standing outside. The world was dewy and cool and everything smelled fresh because it had rained the night before. Very soon, I’ll be in jeans and long sleeves again.

But I’m not sad. Like I said, I’ve become disillusioned to summer break, having worked the last many. To me, autumn is not the loss of summer; it’s the return of AWESOME.

I love the fall! It’s easily my favorite season. It feels so crisp and cool after a scorching summer. I love to watch the leaves turn golden and rusty and even when they die, the leave behind a satisfying crunch under my feet. My favorite weather is anything in which I need a light jacket. Not so cold you need anything heavier, in fact I like when I don’t have to zip it up. That’s just cool enough to feel really good, but not freeze.

Or let me put it this way: just cool enough that my wife needs me to wrap my arms around her, but not so cold that it freezes me to do so!

But the best thing about fall is the beginning of the HOLIDAYS!! Starting now, I can officially look forward to my favorite time of year: October through December!

Now I enjoy September already because of the breezy weather and the cascade of colors, but thanks to my wife, the holiday season has actually extended! You know, like a retail Christmas time!

Technically, my wife’s birthday isn’t a holiday, but to us, it is. We get to celebrate and this year, my lovely is turning 25. Ironically, she’s upset about this! I think she’s upset about getting older, but I stared at her and said, “You’re going to be a smoking-hot 25-year-old. That’s not old. 25 is a very sought-after age!” She’s silly. But her birthday is on the 23rd, the fall solstice! So I guess that really IS the official start to fall for me!

And then fall will casually drift by into Halloween. I don’t know why, but I like the atmosphere. I also like candy. I think my favorite thing is being a costume judge. I’m the guy who stands at the door and evaluates every kid’s costume. If it’s especially cool, I give them some extra candy. I once had a kid come up to the door dressed as Billy Mayes, the Oxy-Clean guy. That was original! More candy for you! I had another kid come up in a death costume that was actually scary! A cliched kid’s costume and it was genuinely freaky. More candy, now be gone, Satan!

It’s also the perfect time of year to search for naughty costumes for my wife. Hey, we’re married. We’re allowed. Just not in public.

And then, of course, the Feast d’Resistance! Thanksgiving! This should be fun, since we’re doing it at our place for the first time. Like I said, we live in a basement, but it’s a friggin’ huge basement and we actually have enough room for our whole family. I mean BOTH immediate families! With my folks and brother, her folks and sisters, her sort-of brother-in-law (long story), and my cousins, that’s only about 12 people if EVERYBODY comes. But I just like eating turkey and sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and dinner rolls and MMMMMMMMMM!

But the cream on the holiday cake is, of course, Christmas. I know, I know, Christmas has become far too commercialized, but you know what? I like it! I like the Christmas air, I love the decorations everywhere, I love the repeats of crappy old holiday movies, I love the trees, I love the stockings, I love the presents, I love the snuggles with hot cocoa, I! Love! Christmas!

AND I LOVE CAAAANNNDDYYYYYY!! I’m a fattie on the inside!

Yeah, Christmas is technically a winter holiday, but fall is when I get to look forward to it and slide into it.

Wait! That’s what fall is! A super-happy fun slide! Put on your jeans and sweatshirts, throw your hands up in the air and shout, “WHEE!” as you slide by the changing colors of leaves, the cool breezes, the post-Halloween sugar coma, the pumpkin pie and family arguments, and when the come to the end, you slide through the cold snow and come to a stop at the base of a lit-up Christmas tree.

Happy fall, everybody! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

And I’d better get some friggin’ s’mores this year!

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